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What Is Lunesta?

1-800-315-2391  |  December 7th

What Is Lunesta?

Lunesta is the brand name for the drug Eszopiclone. It has been available, by prescription only, since approximately 2005. Lunesta is a sedative or tranquilizer drug.

It is different from other types of sedative or tranquilizer drugs in that it does not contain Benzodiazepine, nor is it considered a barbiturate, just to give a few examples.

Why Is Lunesta Prescribed?

Lunesta is most often prescribed as a treatment for insomnia (the inability to fall asleep quickly or stay asleep). Many adults (Lunesta is not recommended for children) have this problem, and sometimes it can be severe enough as to interfere with their daily activities. They are unable to remain awake or alert enough to perform their job duties, or carry out family responsibilities. In addition, because they are sleep-deprived, they may become drowsy or so lethargic that it is not safe for them to drive or perform other hazardous tasks.

Statistics Relating To Lunesta

According to addiction recovery specialists, Lunesta was considered the #1 prescription brand name sleep aid that health care professionals gave their patients in 2010. However, abuse of Lunesta has been reported to be increasing. This may be because people who abuse Lunesta notice that when taken at higher doses (6 and 12 mg); again according to addiction recovery specialists, the effects were similar to those felt when taking 20 mg of Diazepam (Valium is a common brand name of this type of drug.) Further, continuing to increase the dosage above the two already listed resulted in increased reports of abusers experiencing hallucinations. In addition, the amnesiac effect that Lunesta can have, even when taken in the prescribed dosage and manner, was also heightened.

How Is Lunesta Abused?

Like all medications, Lunesta can be abused in many different ways. Some people abuse Lunesta when they deliberately take more of the drug than was prescribed. Other people may abuse Lunesta by taking the exact amount that their doctor has instructed them to, but they take it more often than they should. Instead of using it only on those nights when they have trouble falling asleep, or using it only long enough to once again establish a regular sleep pattern, then discontinuing it, they use it every night, or even take a dose during the day, then another one at night.

Another way in which Lunesta is abused is when someone does not have any trouble at all falling asleep, but has heard that taking a certain amount of Lunesta can cause hallucinations. That person may take Lunesta for this purpose only, to see if that specific effect can be achieved.

Even when taken at the prescribed dosage and frequency, Lunesta can cause amnesia (loss of memory). Because of this, according to addiction recovery specialists, there have been reports of people doing such things as driving a car, preparing and eating food, carrying on phone conversations, or walking in their sleep. In addition, some people have reported that they engaged in the sex act without even being aware of it. Some of these activities can be dangerous, especially driving a car or engaging in sexual behavior with no memory. Addiction recovery specialists report that the latter often occurs when Lunesta is abused, whether the abuse was deliberate or occurred as a result of a person unknowingly taking the drug or unknowingly being given a higher dosage of the drug.

Lunesta Addiction Treatment Options

Treatment options can include a health care professional only prescribing a specific number of tablets (for example, seven to fourteen days' worth as opposed to thirty days or more). This can still allow enough time for the drug to work and restoration of a good sleep pattern to occur.

Other treatment options can include determining what is causing the insomnia. Is the patient consuming products containing caffeine or other stimulant ingredients too soon before retiring? Is there an underlying emotional cause for the insomnia (a traumatic event or stress, for example)? Is another medication causing insomnia? If so, could changing or discontinuing that medication alleviate the problem?

Prescribers can work with patients suffering from insomnia on discovering ways to induce sleep without the use of medications. These can include having a set bedtime routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, or trying relaxation techniques such as meditation, journaling (especially if racing thoughts are the reason for insomnia), and other activities. If it is felt that medication is indicated, health care professionals may want to prescribe drugs that do not contain narcotics but can cause still cause drowsiness.

One of the best solutions available is enrolling in an in-patient or outpatient drug rehab program that can help abusers fight their prescription drug addiction.

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